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Sunday 24 February 2013


Have you ever noticed phone-related acne spots? Or let me rephrase: do you suffer from stubborn pimples on one side of your face, your chin, even your ears? Your tech toys are the likely culprits – primarily cell phones, which are like petri dishes, covered with bacteria that end up on our skin.

Liz Smith, Rentokil IT Hygiene’s senior microbiologist, explains: “The average cell phone provides all three vital factors bacteria needs to thrive: nourishment in the form of oils secreted from the skin; moisture exhaled onto the phone surface every time we breath; and contamination by our hands.” To make matters even more icky, Sanjay Gupta discovered faecal strep on Anderson Cooper’s cell phone last fall. And he is not alone – scientists have found more than 2,000 different bugs breeding on our phones.

It means every time you chat on the phone, you’re leaving your face vulnerable to cystic acne. Among other stuff. Other bugs found on phones have been responsible for diphtheria, thrush, herpes, gastro-enteritis, stomach disorders and hepatitis. Oh! And watch out for the office phone – since it ends up pressed against the faces of all of your co-workers, it may be even dirtier. Ewwww!

And sometimes it’s not even about the bacteria: when you hold a cell phone to your face for a long period of time, the heat, friction and perspiration block the pores of surrounding skin, which can lead to deep acne cysts (ever notice how the phone melts your makeup?).

1. Limit face-to-phone time: Use a bluetooth headset that doesn't touch your face, switch a long call to speakerphone and text when you can. The less often a phone touches your face, the better.

2. Wash your face: Always wash your face with a gentle cleanser after a long call. On the go? Stock up on cleansing wipes.

3. Clean your phone: Whether or not bacteria are causing your zits, never ever cleaning your phone is still gross. Before going to bed, wipe your phone with an anti-acne toner (use a cotton pad) such as Clinique’s Clarifying lotion, which contains bacteria-busting alcohol and oil-dissolving salicylic acid. Still doesn't solve the problem? Explore the option of getting a UV cell phone sanitiser.

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